First, a note. This post was actually supposed to go up last Thursday, and so is a week late. For that, my apologies to author Kim Curran and to Faye at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts who put the whole book tour together for Glaze. I haven’t been punctual about guest posts of late, and I do have quite a back log of things that need to get done. Something I’m working on correcting!
Second, having read the premise of Glaze and having followed up on all the excerpts that have been posted in various places as part of this book tour, I’m very excited about the novel. I haven’t read anything by Kim as yet, though I do have copies of her two YA novels from Strange Chemistry that I need to get through, but reading these excerpts, I’m sure that the books are gonna be great. Strange Chemistry has had a fairly good track record since their launch, as far as I’m concerned, and Kim seems to be one of their top authors and Glaze has been getting a lot of good publicity. Hopefully I will be reading it soon. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt below.
Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.
Information about Glaze:
Author: Kim Curran | Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian | Publisher: Self-Published | Format: E-book | 293pp | Published: 15th May 2014
Also Available: 75 limited edition hardbacks from Jurassic Publishing
Dublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete.
She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
The prizes include:
- Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
- Signed copies of Shift & Control
- Glaze Bookmarks
- Glaze badges
- Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.
I’m seeing it all around me. Old friendships, old passions, set aside and forgotten about. Personalities tried on then discarded like yesterday’s fashion. There’s wreckage, for sure. Girls sobbing in corners. Boys punching lockers then sobbing in corners. And this, we’re told, is what growing up is all about.
Puberty, people, is a bitch.
It’s not like I’m immune to it. I’m only lagging behind a little. I assume that’s why it takes me longer to get over things. My favourite song of last year is still my favourite song today. I can play it on repeat for hours and hours and not get tired of it. I still love Alice in Wonderland as much as when I first read it. And I miss my friends.
This will all change when I get on Glaze. I’m sure of it. When I’m hooked up I can be a part of their lives again. I can stay up till midnight and wait for Nathaniel’s latest track to be released—rather than having to wait for three weeks to hear it like the rest of the non-hooked population—and then discuss its languorous melodies, or whatever, for hours with Pippa. Or dissect the subtext of crap Hollywood movies with Kiara. Or make new friends on the other side of the world, who I can talk to about books and art and philosophy. For now, I’m in limbo. I’m in a holding pattern waiting to land. And that’s OK. Like they say, good things come to those who wait.
I sit on the least damaged of the seats and start to swing. The rusting chains are damp from the morning’s rain but the seat is dry, which means someone has been here before me. Kiara climbs up on the warped, burnt-out seat and pushes back and forth, her long, dark hair splaying out behind her, then catching her up on the upswing.
We swing in silence for a while.
‘What’s it like?’ she says.
‘What’s what like?’
‘The blank chip. Can you feel it?’
‘Not really. At first, I could see the company logo, floating in my eyes. You know, like when you stare at the sun too long. Three faint triangles drifting around. But I don’t even notice them now.’ I look down. I was hoping that I’d feel something with the chip. Get some kind of feed. The time and date. My location. Something. Anything. But after the logo faded, there was nothing.
‘You know, you’re lucky.’
‘What?’ I look back up at Kiara flying back and forth.
‘Glaze. It’s not all that. I’m thinking of having the chip removed.’
She leaps off mid swing and lands badly. I jump down and try to help her back to her feet. She sits in the mud and laughs.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask, meaning the ankle she’s cradling.
‘No, not really.’ Her smile fades. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’
I know she’s not talking about her ankle.
‘You remember when I was off school last month?’
‘With glandular fever?’ I say.
‘Yeah, only it wasn’t glandular fever. Unless you can get that from a stomach pump.’
‘What are you on about?’
‘I tried to kill myself.’
She says it like it’s perfectly normal. Like she’d just tried a new nail varnish. Or she has a crush on someone. I find I can’t breathe and slump to the floor next to her.
‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she says, leaning back on her hands and looking up at the clouds. ‘I did a really crappy job of it. Apparently it’s really hard to OD on ibuprofen. Who knew?’
‘Kiara, I… I… Why?’
She closes her eyes and tilts her head back further, as if she were sunbathing. Only there’s no sun out today. ‘The doctors say I’m depressed.’
‘Well, duh!’ I say. ‘Award for stating the obvious goes to the doctors.’
‘I guess. But I always thought being depressed meant feeling sad all the time and not being able to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad. I just don’t… feel. Anything.’ She sits up again and rubs her muddy hands on her skirt. ‘I used to care about things so much, you know? My art. Music. But now, it’s all noise. And without it I feel empty. And I didn’t want to go on feeling empty.’
‘I wish I knew what to say.’
‘Don’t worry. No one knows really. Mum says I’ll get better soon. That it’s a phase. Dad’s ignoring it, pretty much, trying to carry on as normal. He can’t cope with the fact I’m not his happy little Kiki any more. My doctor wants me to take some pills. “Happy pills”. He actually called them that. Literally. Happy pills. Can you believe that?’
‘And you don’t want to take them?’
‘I don’t know. I don’t really know anything any more.’
‘Has this got anything to do with Pippa?’
Kiara laughs. ‘No. Poor Pippa. Can you imagine her dealing with this?’
I laugh too. But it comes out as more of a groan. ‘Yeah, she’d make a right drama out of it.’
‘No, it’s not her. I can’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. No, it’s just… life, I guess. My life. It really does suck.’
I turn away and sigh. ‘Tell me about it.’
‘I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you lately, Pet. I wanted to tell you, I really did. But…’
‘It’s fine. I get it.’ I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of relived.
We both sit and watch the clouds float past overhead.
‘So, what’s that got to do with having your chip out. I mean, can you even do that?’
‘Apparently there’s a clinic you can go to. It’s not as easy as having it put in. But nothing ever is, right?
‘And you’re going to?’
‘Maybe. It’s weird. Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything. You know, what my opinions are.’ She presses her hand to her chest. ‘I’m stretched out in all directions spread too thin. Like a pancake person.’ She laughs again, and this time, it sounds a little more like her real laugh. ‘But it could just be me. Mum did always say I was contrary.’
‘Why don’t you turn it off? Then when you feel better you can go back.’ I can’t get my head around the idea of someone choosing not to be on Glaze. Especially when I know I can’t. Like Ethan.
‘Yeah, but I’d only turn it back on again. I have no willpower.’ She shivers and wraps her arms around herself.
‘You want to come back to mine?’ I say, standing up. ‘Zizi will be there, though. She’s working on some big project.’
‘Won’t she go totally Metro for you bunking off?’
‘Nah, I’ll tell her I’m taking a stand against patriarchal institutions or something.’
‘Your mum’s cool.’
‘Hmm. Too cool.’
‘I have to be home normal time or Mum will call the police.’
‘We still have a couple of hours. And I’ve had enough of the police for a lifetime.’
She takes my hand to get to her feet then tucks it under her arm, linking us together. ‘What was it like? Being arrested?’ Her eyes light up and I realise now it’s the first time I’ve seen them like that in too long.
‘So, Petri. What have you brought me?’ Logan says, stroking Proxy’s ears.
I reach into my pocket and pull out the crumpled ball of tissue paper. Logan goes to snatch it out of my hand, but I’m faster.
‘First, the deal. I want on to Glaze. And I want the CDO wiped.’
‘And I want it now. No more waiting. I want to be sixteen. Now. You can do that, can’t you? Fix my files?’
‘Given I’ll be creating a false identity for you, I can make you any age you want.’ He reaches his hand out.
‘And Ryan.’ I don’t really know why I’m doing this. It’s not like I owe him anything. But I can’t bear the thought of seeing him when I’m on and he’s not. This way it’s a clean slate. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. ‘Ryan back on too.’
Logan shakes his head. ‘Why do you care what happens to that reprobate? He’s using you, you know that right?’
I remember the kiss in the elevator and the way he looked at me. Was that all a show? Isn’t everything?
‘Ryan too,’ I say, with a shrug.
‘You’re asking a lot there, kid.’
‘And I’m giving you a lot too. I’ve been looking into it. WhiteInc have DNA-protected access. You get the DNA sequence of someone with authorisation and you have access to Glaze.’
Logan and the twins share a look. They’d been hoping to keep that little fact from me. I ignore the guilt that’s making my cheeks burn and my stomach roil. Zizi will never find out it was me. Besides, if I don’t help them, they’ll only find another way in. I want to believe this. I have to believe it. I think about living the rest of my life surrounded by silence, banished from all human contact. It has to be worth the risk.
I still flinch at every speed camera, CCTV and drone. There seem to be hundreds of them. Watching me. I never realised how many there were, monitoring our every movement. Some cultures used to think cameras took our souls. Maybe that’s what’s happened to us. Maybe our need to document our every thought, our every emotion, has robbed us of everything. Stripped us down to nothing but pixels on a screen.
I crane my head to watch a drone buzz by overhead, wondering how many souls it’s captured tonight. I don’t see the car coming.